Mozella is a Poet, Writer, and Global Storyteller who reaches across borders with meaningful conversations through her speaking engagements, writing, and creative retreat tools. She is passionate about making an intentional contribution to the enrichment of our 21st century world and encourages us to use the positive power of our life stories as a means to enlighten and transform our global village.
Life began in Miami, Florida; there were spelling bees, piano and ballet lessons, YMCA camps and Vacation Bible School.
Then my father chose to fulfill his dream to live on the African continent, a dream he had held from teenage years. He said 'yes' to an offer to establish an international YMCA in Jinja, Uganda with the specific goal of enhancing educational and leadership opportunities for youth. Our family moved in October 1962, arriving at a momentous time - just days after Uganda had gained its independence.
There were many new life experiences: integrating into a British expatriate school; the blend of African, Asian and European cultures; hippos feeding on mother's vegetable garden; afternoon teas and posh school uniforms; desks with inkwells for our pens; prizes for poetry recitals; bike rides; climbing whatever we could find; boarding schools in Kenya; train rides; forbidden midnight feasts in the dorm, Irish nuns, Shakespeare, the red dirt hockey pitch! It was a truly memorable educational experience.
There was always excitement:
When man first landed on the moon we watched it on TV whilst on a trip in London, England, en route to the States for home leave.
At 16 when my sisters and I decided our parent's extended vacation in the States was more than we could bear, my Dad said: "You've got your own passports, go back to school". So we left our parents, visited our brother in Washington, D.C. and visited Brussels before flying into Uganda. Alone and adventurous, three young African American girls checked into the Metropole Hotel, toured for the day and flew out that night for an onward journey home. I have the itinerary my father typed and my ticket in a scrapbook. These experiences taught us well.
My high school years were spent in an American missionary school just outside Nairobi, Kenya in Kijabe: a beautiful setting, in the hills overlooking the Great Rift Valley. These early years were filled with outdoor adventures, choir trips, delicious samosas and real Kenyan chai. However, it was not always the happiest of times. I became aware of racism for the first time in my educational history and graduated, at 18, the only black girl in my high school class.
After moving to Lagos, Nigeria in 1971 with our parents for their next posting; I headed to Howard University, in Washington, D.C. The black power movement, its history, and the freedom that university brings were enlightening; yet, I felt somewhat out of place. Culture shock had set in: I was lost, but later found my comfort levels amongst foreign students from African and Caribbean countries – I belonged.
I was "called to the Bar" but the voice wasn't God's - in spite of law schools and bar memberships in Washington, D.C. and Nigeria, actual 'practice' was brief.
In 1989, my sisters and I opened African Eye, an upscale boutique in Washington, D.C. For almost ten years, we provided a vehicle for African entrepreneurs: artists, designers and artisans to export high quality products to western-based markets. I was passionate about our business and worked primarily from my home base in Lagos, whilst raising our three sons.
Those were fun, entrepreneurial years… was I 'there' yet?
During that decade, another passion was brewing – one that found its roots from my earlier introduction, at 18, to the power of our thoughts and belief systems.
In response, I later founded Rising Sun Programs, a small non-profit primarily serving youth. Our signature program – The Wealth Club - promotes essential life skills around the concept that true wealth is a healthy balance of mind, body and spirit creating well-being. We capture young people's attention around the 'money piece' - they like that … and we call it 'wealth literacy' – Please visit our web site at www.RisingSunPrograms.org.
"Love Is A Mountain", the title of my first book was inspired by climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro with my two sisters in celebration of my 50th birthday.
Our vision at Love is a Mountain, LLC is that each of you imagines walking through this beautiful earth, discovering the power of your story, exploring it with others and sharing the magic of it all!